Welcome to another edition of The Favorite Things Club!! Every so often we get overly excited about some product or another and feel the need to share it with the world. For us, this meant we needed to start an imaginary club where we could gab about our latest finds. This edition is all about recovery. The supplies we use before, during, and after runs to keep ourselves in tip-top…well…mediocre shape. Some of these products were sent to us by companies to review, others were not (we’ve noted the ones that were). All of them we’ve found to be incredibly useful in some way or another and hope you do too!!
We might be late to the KT Tape party but this stuff is amazing. We both have nagging injuries and “almost” injuries. Lydia’s left ankle is just grumpy. If miles are increased, new shoes worn, a bike is ridden, this ornery ankle acts up. Annie has a knee that got very angry and legitimately injured after a half marathon we ran while it was snowing and 20 degrees…we’re PNW girls and are not built for such conditions. Annie’s knee was hurt severely enough she wasn’t able to run for over six months…although this didn’t stop her from signing up for a triathlon. We’ve heard about KT Tape for awhile and know several people who swear by it but we just never had a chance to try it out. However, about a month ago KT Tape was kind enough to send us oodles of samples to test and we were in business!! After watching a couple YouTube videos about how to properly wrap our “injuries”, we were off and running. The difference was amazing. Lydia’s ankle is always a bit sore while running longer runs and there was literally no pain, in fact she forgot it had been aching all week. Annie’s knee had been acting up prior to this run because of increased mileage and trail running, however this time around it stayed on a low simmer instead of full boil. The KT Tape helped so much. We were happily surprised with the results and we both used it at the Everett Half Marathon we just ran…be looking for that review!
Oofos was sweet enough to send me (Lydia) a pair of recovery sandals. These bad boys are like walking on a wonderfully squishy cloud. The sandals are made of some type of magical rubbery material that massages my feet while supporting them at the same time. Like I said, magic. But seriously, when I’ve just run a bunch of miles I want to eat chocolate in a hot bath and I don’t want to wear stuffy running shoes while I’m getting there. I’ve tried many different types of recovery footwear and these are definitely top of the list!
Epsom Salt Baths
The facts about epsom salts are out there. It flushes toxins from the body, helps relieve sore muscles, and just feels good!! Also, there are studies that show it can help improve the body’s circulation and ability to regulate blood sugar. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of coming home from a chilly run and hopping in a warm epsom salt bath. Annie practically lived in one for the first year that she ran.
On the flip side of the warm bath coin is the ice bath…yay! Ice baths are torture and Lydia has yet to take one, however Annie swears by the suckers. A big bowl of ice dumped into a bath of cold water does the trick. Sit in it for 15 minutes to help reduce inflammation and drastically decrease your body’s healing time!! A quick warning, the first 2 minutes are going to feel like death. After that the body goes numb and you’ll reach a comfy state of calm (maybe it’s hypothermia). If an ice bath sounds just a bit too intense try an ice pack instead. Apply it to sore muscles for approximately 15 minutes. Ice is a great option to use the night before a race, it really wakes up the legs and helps with that quick turnover rate we’re all looking for.
Nothing fancy needed here, just a good old foam roller. Sit on it, lay on it, nap on it, roll those muscles out!! Foam rollers are deceptively simple. You don’t have to use them for long, just hit the muscles you want and go. We’ve found that they keep our muscles loosened and help get rid of knots that tend to appear after a good run. For best results, roll while watching Netflix and eating chocolate!
Although Lydia doesn’t struggle with cramps in the slightest, I (Annie) am making up for that. Since the first run I ever ran I’ve struggled with side stitches. At this point, I’m pretty sure I’ve tried about every remedy out there. Nothing has worked. The last 10k I ran I ended up holding my side for the final 4 miles thanks to a lingering stitch…miserable, but sweet bragging rights!! A few weeks ago, Lydia and I received some packets of Cramps Away in the mail. Normally, when I hear about these kinds of products I think leg cramps, not side stitches. On a particularly side achy treadmill run at home however, I saw one of those packets sitting on my desk and decided to give it a go. I followed the instructions, swished it around in my mouth for a few seconds and swallowed it down. After I was done, I hopped back on the treadmill. Now, I’m a fairly cynical person. I automatically assumed this stuff wouldn’t work so I honestly wasn’t even paying attention to my side when I started running again. A while later, as my mind was wandering, it clicked…my side didn’t hurt! I was so shocked that I hopped off the treadmill and texted Lydia immediately. Here I am a couple weeks later still freaking out about it. If I were a more sentimental person I’d cry. Anyway, a couple days ago I ran a half marathon. I took Cramps Away beforehand (it says it will prevent as well as get rid of cramps) and guess what??? NO SIDE STITCH!! If you have cramping issues I highly, highly recommend this stuff…and hey, if it doesn’t work for you send it my way, I’ll polish it off!!
Last but not least, is our hydration favvy…Nuun! Nuun comes in little tablets that you can drop into a water glass or bottle. We cannot begin to describe how boring plain old water gets while trying to stay hydrated. If you’re like us, you’ve tried about every “hydration” drink there is… and I’ll bet we can agree, most are nasty. But Nuun is the exception. It’s delicious. Not too sweet, yet soooo good to drink. It fizzes away and once fully dissolved is ready to go. These tablets are packed full of electrolytes and vitamins for yummy recovery goodness. They also come in a large variety of delicious flavors!! There are different mixtures of Nuun for different purposes as well. Some are geared for recovery, others for immunity, and still more for performance. Nuun sent us several varieties to test out and we can honestly say they all tasted spectacular. Play around with what works best for you…you can’t go wrong here!
What are some of your favorite ways to get back to normal after a run or race? Are there any products you’d like us to test out and review? Let us know!